A look at Arsene Wenger’s less than successful youth signings during his Arsenal tenure
Quincy Owusu-Abeyie is a classic example of star potential going to waste on a player unable or unwilling to capitalise on their immense talent. In his time at Arsenal, he impressed with dazzling skills and wonderful footwork, but all too often lacked any sort of end product. In a way, he was Alex Hleb’s predecessor. So what has become of him?
Dutch-Ghanaian winger/striker Quincy was born in Amsterdam in the spring of 1986, and having spent much of his youth at Ajax, signed for Arsenal in 2002, aged just sixteen. He made his debut in the League Cup in 2003-04, the same campaign in which a certain Cesc Fabregas made his bow. The following season, his performances lit up Arsenal’s run to the semi finals, although it was becoming increasingly apparent that despite his sublime skills, he wasn’t a passer of any note, often refusing to even take that option.
His final appearance for Arsenal was his only Champions League start, ironically against home town club Ajax in a group ending dead rubber in December 2005. A month later, Adebayor and Walcott were signed, and Quincy found himself way down the pecking order. A transfer to Spartak Moscow swiftly followed, a move he insists he does not regret.
But he struggled to adapt in Russia, rarely playing ninety minutes partly due to injury, and partly due to the Eboue syndrome, where he was automatically the first player hauled off when the manager wanted to make changes. Rumours of an ongoing feud with teammate Vladimir Bystrov didn’t help, and eventually he moved to the sunnier climate of Spain, joining Celta Vigo on loan last summer.
In the meantime, he had switched allegiance on the international front. Despite shining for Holland at youth level, he opted to play for Ghana, and despite a few hitches along the way that saw him picked for squads that he wasn’t allowed to play in, he was eventually given permission to represent Ghana before the African Nations Cup earlier this year. He appeared in the knockout stages but has struggled for a regular place in a talented midfield.
Meanwhile, Quincy had become dissatisfied with his experience in the second tier of Spanish football, and is keen to have another crack at the Premiership, as reported earlier this month by Gooner Talk. With Spartak seemingly ready to listen to offers, it’ll be interesting to see what lies ahead for the kid.
It would be a shame if his talent continued to be unfulfilled – he always had bags of ability, but has yet to become a rounded footballer rather than a showboating trickster.